Every so often I come across a film that I go into with incredibly low expectations, but come out of pleasantly surprised. Grave Encounters is one of these films. The film itself isn't the most well made movie out there, but compared to all of the other found footage garbage that we're used to, it's a decent flick. My least favourite film so far in 2014 is found footage, for goodness sake. It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone when I say that I think the found footage craze should stop, but there's only so many times I can say that before my rants come out just as frequent as the film's release dates. Grave Encounters does what it wants to do very well, and for that reason alone, I deem this film worthy of a watch, particularly if you're a fan of the horror genre, although why wouldn't you be? We love to be scared!
As an actual documentary, however, it's rubbish. This sounds like an odd critique to make, and it is, but this film takes a really unrealistic approach to documentary filmmaking. I'm not sure what sort of ratings they would've received if their show aired on TV, but I can almost guarantee they wouldn't be good. These characters clearly don't know how to film a documentary, zooming in during interviews and shaking the camera all around, the interviewees never quite seen as clearly as they should be. It was a very distracting aspect of the movie.
The plot of this film had me captivated. I would watch anything about paranormal investigators and so I was obviously willing to watch this, despite my already-mentioned low expectations. It's a job that I don't ever want to have, but watching the cases unfold makes for high quality entertainment. This isn't high quality entertainment though, unlike last year's The Conjuring, which also follows the story of paranormal investigators, but whatever really.
To sum up, Grave Encounters isn't a masterclass horror film, but for what it is it's decent. The characters are given a reason to keep filming, the film has a few surprises up its sleeve and it can also be fairly scary at times. What else do you really want from a movie like this one?